US Osprey Crash Near Japan 11/29 06:27
A crew member who was recovered from the ocean after a U.S. military Osprey
aircraft carrying six people crashed Wednesday off southern Japan has been
pronounced dead, coast guard officials said.
TOKYO (AP) -- A crew member who was recovered from the ocean after a U.S.
military Osprey aircraft carrying six people crashed Wednesday off southern
Japan has been pronounced dead, coast guard officials said.
The cause of the crash and the status of the five others on the aircraft
were not immediately known, coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said. Initial
reports said the aircraft was carrying eight people, but the U.S. military
later revised the number to six, he said.
The coast guard received an emergency call from a fishing boat near the
crash site off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on the southern main
island of Kyushu, he said.
Coast guard aircraft and patrol boats found one person, who was later
pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, and gray-colored debris believed to be
from the aircraft, Ogawa said. They were found about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) off
the eastern coast of Yakushima. An empty inflatable life raft was also found in
"The government will confirm information about the damage and place the
highest priority on saving lives," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter,
but during flight can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like
an airplane. Versions of the aircraft are flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy
and Air Force.
Ogawa said the aircraft had departed from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station
Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its way to Kadena Air Base on
Japanese Vice Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa said the Osprey had
attempted an emergency sea landing.
Kyodo News agency, quoting Kagoshima prefectural officials, said witnesses
reported seeing fire coming from the Osprey's left engine.
It said a Japanese military base in Saga in southern Japan decided to
postpone planned Osprey flight exercises on Thursday.
U.S. and Japanese officials said the aircraft belonged to Yokota Air Base in
western Tokyo. U.S. Air Force officials at Yokota said they were still
confirming information and had no immediate comment.
Ospreys have had a number of accidents in the past, including in Japan,
where they are deployed at both U.S. and Japanese military bases. In Okinawa,
where about half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are based, Gov. Denny
Tamaki told reporters Wednesday that he will ask the U.S. military to suspend
all Osprey flights in Japan.
In December 2016, a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey crashed off the Okinawa coast,
injuring two of the five crew members and triggering complaints among local
residents about the U.S. bases and the Osprey's safety record.
A U.S. Marine Corps Osprey with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north
Australian island in August, killing at least three and critically injuring at
least five during a multinational training exercise.
It was the fifth fatal crash of a Marine Osprey since 2012, bringing the
death toll at that time to at least 19.